Extra credit: blow shit up and look good while doing it

Look at that picture. Just look at it. If you had any doubt in my ability to write an article entitled "How to Kick Ass on a Daily Basis", that picture should have taken care of it. Or, at least it should have impressed you with my digital skillz.

Occasionally, when asked what I do for a living, I cheekily retort that I "kick ass on a daily basis". Being the overly introspective person that I am, I decided to sit down and figure out exactly what that means for me. What does my definition of kick ass include? The following are items that I'm working on, and suggestions that I would offer anyone wanting to up their bad-assery levels. Just so you know: it's probably not what you think.


Say yes to the things that terrify you on the reg. I don't really know what "normal" means anymore, but I have a feeling that I'm not it. This makes itself pretty apparent when I'm faced with something that scares the shit out of me. When confronted, I make a point to NOT think... and instead to just say yes. For example: I'm afraid of heights, but YES I'll go skydiving. I'm afraid of eating in public, but YES I'll do a photo shoot with cake. I'm afraid of spiders, but YES I'll go with you to the insect store. I'm afraid of being on television, but YES I'll hop on a plane in an hour and be on the Today Show. I'm afraid of making a fool out of myself, but YES I'll give that lecture. I'm afraid of rejection, but YES I'll ask that guy out. SeewhatImean?

All of those experiences have broadened my horizons and challenged me to live an even more incredible and well rounded life. It's like that xoJane episode on "Girls". Here's your comfort zone, and THIS is where the magic happens. Don't think about it too much. Just do it already. Got it?

Invest in your passions. This is one of the best lessons I've ever been taught. When you focus your attention on what you love and only what you love... you will find that you have more energy, enthusiasm, and success. Always. Cut out the shit you feel obligated to do, invest in what you want to do, and then go out and do it well. That's a command.

Practice self-care forevz. Simple rule that every person needs to learn: you cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself. This is something I've been forced to apply while working in a field where I provide a lot of emotional support for others. I must must must take time to pamper ME. This investment in myself allows me to then offer those I work with more attention, empathy, and understanding. It's vital to your well-being and the well-being of those around you.

Tell Ignorance to go "kick rocks". Nothing beats the kind of empowerment that comes from being armed with knowledge. Consciously fill your life with learning experiences; pull your head out of the sand and challenge your brain. Pick one of those passions we were just talking about and research it. Turn on NPR on the way to work. Have conversations about pertinent issues with those around you. Listen to someone else's story; really listen. Practice critical thinking. Inundate your life with whats going on around the world. Instead of assuming the Facebook article is true, research the legitimacy. Give your brain the respect it deserves and exercise it on a daily basis. Watch your world come into focus and your mission become clearer. It's like magic.

Take shit from no one. They call this self advocacy in my worky realm, but learning how to stand up for yourself is a skill that can change your life. If you don't like the way someone is speaking to you, let them know. If you need something, ask for it. If you feel as though you are being misunderstood, clarify. Control your life in a way that makes it safe and happy for you.

Smash ceilings. The only limits that I have in life are the ones that I set for myself, and I think to a certain extent we can all relate. Skip that shit and live your life like you've already earned the accolades you want. Do what you would do if you knew you could not fail. When people say "you can't" or "that's not how it works", spin on your heels and prove them wrong. I have found that when I allow myself to take what seems like ridiculous chances... I either succeed or learn an epic lesson for the next time I try. I am an undergrad lecturing at colleges. That's not supposed to happen. I am a person with a serious mental illness who is "high functioning" and working as a professional in the field. That's not supposed to happen. I'm a nobody living in a small desert town who reaches millions and millions of people. That's not supposed to happen. I'm a fat person who loves her body. That's not supposed to happen.

The reality is that "not supposed to's" have no place in our lives, and chasing your dreams (as corny as it sounds) CAN be a successful venture. And if it's not the first time you try, learn from what went wrong and tackle that motherfucker again. You've got this.

Stay real. Become a genuine, grounded, and honest person. And then work on maintaining it.

Don't give a chainsaw. I don't know if you've listened to the Jon Lajoie song a couple of posts back, but just in case you haven't, I'll share it here:

My favorite part of this video (aside from the hilarious lyrics) is the twist at the end. He talks about how he couldn't give a fuck less about anything or anyone and then as it finishes he realizes that he doesn't give a fuck so much that he actually does give a fuck. He, in fact, very much gives a fuck. In a really murky way, I feel like this is the perfect approach. I don't give a fuck about your opinion of my body. I don't give a fuck about drama. I don't give a fuck about how you think I should live my life. I don't give a fuck about bacon being bad for you. I don't give a fuck about listening to the "wrong kind of music". I don't give a fuck about all of the purposeless things in life and because of this... my heart, mind, and soul are free to very much give a fuck about the things that are significant.

(Are you following all of that? Did you get distracted by all of the "fucks"? We'll change it up to chainsaw.)

So don't give a chainsaw until it's something worth giving a chainsaw about. Y'feel me?

Love. Open your heart to people, places, and opportunities. There is a lot of beauty waiting for you out in the world.

For me, kicking ass entails living a life full of purpose, kindness, passion, and progress. That in mind, what else would you add to this list? What other things can we implement into our lives to up the rock-star factor? How can we more efficiently kick ass and take names? <---- THAT is the real question.

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